Bhubaneswar: The two-hour bus ride from Bhubaneswar to Badmul, a small town in Nayagarh district, is filled with excitement and anticipation. A small halt for tea on the way and then the bus zooms to the small town where officials of Mahanadi Wildlife Division welcome the guests to ‘Camping under the stars’, a nature education programme for wildlife and adventure enthusiasts.
The exposure trip being organized by Mahanadi Wildlife Division of Satkosia Tiger Reserve in association with Odisha Tourism and Detour Odisha, a company specialising in curating experiences, gives one an excuse to escape, unwind, explore and have an adventure. The second trip is starting tomorrow (Saturday), while the first was conducted on October 1.
The camp with tents is set up on the bank of the Mahanadi in the buffer zone of the reserve forest area. The visitors pedal to the camping site. Trekking down the forested areas following lunch, they soak themselves in the beauty of nature with poacher-turned-protector guides narrating tales of their land and beyond. The 2day/1night trip package @Rs 999 also involves birding and boat rides, where visitors are provided binoculars to sight local and winged guests on the sand bars.
The twinkling star beckons the visitors back to camp as they relax along the river, around bonfire, with local community putting up an impressive ‘Danda Nacha’ and ‘Dhudkai’ performance.
Sleeping in the tents amid the sound of gurgling river, cracking fire, hooting owl and occasional howling of dogs add to the adventure of night out in the forest.
The next morning is for photo session on the river back followed by breakfast and a visit to Satkosia gorge before the journey back to Odisha capital around noon.
“We will be conducting such trips once every month till February. With migratory birds flying down to Badmul, it is a sight to behold for the visitors,” said DFO, Mahanadi Wildlife Division, Anshu Pragyan Das.
Life in the jungle is the other event being organized under the programme. “So far, 600 children from nearby schools have made trips to Satkosia. It is aimed at helping them understand nature and value wildlife conservation,” she said.
The local community have been involved in the programme. “Many of them were poachers, who have turned conservationists. They cook the local food, guide the visitors through the forest, set the tone for the evening with folk dance and also stand guard to ensure that the guests have good night sleep,” the DFO added.